The current convergence of information technology with operational technology is transforming industrial processes, leading them to be digital.
Technologies, such as cloud computing, Big Data and the industrial Internet of Things (IoT), are being deployed to gear up the scalability, quality, effectiveness and cost-efficiency of the processes across industries, such as energy, oil and gas, and manufacturing, among several others. These industries are also adopting new technological capabilities and business models, which are clear in equipment maintenance processes, being increasingly supported by IT technologies.
The result? Look around, you will see significant trends emerging in industrial plant maintenance, which are facilitating fundamental changes and adoption of associated business models. I list a few of them below.
1 Additive Manufacturing in Maintenance
3D printing is gradually becoming mainstream in both industrial and consumer settings. 3D printing associates additive manufacturing, which means industrial processes are also using it. The benefit of 3D printing is that it provides obvious benefits when used to create spare parts, or when those parts are discontinued. 3D printing is not about building prototypes only, but also useful in providing real parts that can sometimes achieve lifespan, durability and properties similar to the original ones. This emerging trend is likely to grow, as 3D printing technology is gradually improving in terms of printers, printing methods, printing software and materials used.
2 Internet of Things, Automated Data Collection, & Wireless Networking
Collecting equipment data reliably is a prerequisite to deriving maintenance insights and knowledge. Maintenance data is collected from multiple sources, using different sensors, and that data is analyzed later by expert systems and intelligent algorithms. But until a few years back, data collection was manual. Now, this process has got a radical change with the arrival of IoT and wireless sensor networks. People are making the most use of these industrial equipment and things in several ways. As a result, modern plants are using hundreds of sensors, which are used to collect maintenance data, and facilitate the automated collection of sensor data. Overall, the IoT based automated data collection cuts down the time to gather information and increase staff’s productivity, which is the significant benefit of digitizing the maintenance workforce.
3 Augmented Reality Implementation
Augmented reality is helping in opening a new aspect of maintenance. AR technology facilitates training of maintenance workers by an equipment vendor, or even by other more experienced workers. On the other hand, virtual reality (VR) is helping in serving training purposes, based on pre-recorded visual presentations. AR for training and remote maintenance are the emerging trends in manufacturing plants, which are simplifying and streamlining tasks.
4 Supply Chain Collaboration
Digitization has a major impact on supply chain operations. It enables collecting digital information from multiple devices and across all phases of the supply chain. It also facilitates seamless flow of information for all supply chain stakeholders, enhances the ability to understand and anticipate all important events, such as from delayed delivery of materials to the reception of high-priority orders. With these developments, you can see predictive maintenance applications as significantly useful for calculating the expected end-of-life of an asset, suggesting the optimal time, and scheduling maintenance processes, among others. In the wider aspect, the integration of IoT data helps in cutting service costs and initiating a quantum leap in operational excellence.
As these technological trends, innovations, and business models are here to stay because of their significant usefulness in plant maintenance management, organizations have to leverage them.
Contact Promise Training & Consultancy to learn how their management training experts can help you learn to adapt with the core of the digital transformation.